On the first of February 2008 the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries introduced a ban on recreational diving in certain areas along the South African Coastline; Pearly Beach was one of these. The reason given was that the ban on diving was one of the government’s measures to combat perlemoen poaching.
Apparently the rationale for this ban was that without recreational divers in the water it would be easier to apprehend poachers, as they could not then claim to be recreational divers. Your association is of the opinion that the ban on recreational diving has not in any way contributed to a reduction in the poaching of perlemoen in our area. Reports in the press showing the tons of perlemoen that the South African Police Service have confiscated from vehicles leaving the area, would indicate that the poaching activities have increased rather than decreased during the time that the diving ban has been in place.
We are therefore of the opinion that the ban imposed by the minister has not achieved its objective of eradicating or reducing perlemoen poaching in the Pearly Beach area but has merely punished the honest by no longer allowing holiday makers or residents to dive in the sea from our beaches. This has then also had a detrimental effect on tourism in our area. Consequently our Ward Councillor has started an initiative to request the Minister to lift the ban on recreational diving in Pearly Beach.
We will keep you informed of the progress made in this regard so keep your eye on the Pearly Beach Ratepayers’ website at pearlybeachratepayers.co.za